At the beginning of August, American’s for Tax Reform sent a letter to the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Board expressing concern over a proposed rulemaking to regulate the ingredient, Dextromethorphan, in cough medicines. The regulation is in response to worries that the drug is widely abused, despite the fact the drug has long been considered safe by the FDA and the significant measures taken by manufacturers to label and educate consumers.
The drive to push certain cough medicines behind the counter carries with it significant cost increases. As the letter states, “Pushing a drug that is safe and properly labeled behind the counter will also increase health care costs, at a time when consumers are already facing increased taxes and costs on their medical care.”
What’s more, the proposed rulemaking poses serious threats to trademarks. Consumers make purchases largely through association with a brand’s trademark. When you have a need and then go to the store to fulfill that need you always want to see the product. If you are searching for a pair of running shoes you go to the store and look at them. You are able to hold and see what they are like right away, thus making it easier to make a purchase. Medicines behind the counter are harder for consumers to identify with. A consumer would have to go ask the pharmacist about the medicine and then look at it there. If some of the cough medicines are behind the counter and some are not, then it will be tough for the companies whose product contains Dextromethorphan to sell their product.
Forcing certain cough medicines that contain Dextromethorphan behind the counter creates an unnecessary regulatory burden that impinges on the rights of manufacturers, increases costs on consumers, and will do little to curb the perceived abuse of the drug. I encourage you to follow this issue at www.atr.org.